Cecilie Carlsen Bach

Digital teaching resources should be used with care

What happens to students’ mathematical communication skills when you use digital tools in your teaching? It is an important question to ask, not least considering the advent of digital tools and recent shift in focus in the didactics of mathematics from mastering to possessing skills.

Cecilie Carlsen Bach holds a PhD from the Danish School of Education, and she has studied this development focussing on the popular dynamic geometry application GeoGebra. In the six articles of her thesis, she explores the problems and potentials of using this type of application. In her research, she draws on the Networking of Theories and design studies:

“My project draws connections between theoretical perspectives on the use of digital technology and theoretical perspectives on mathematics communication. I used design studies and observed eight- and ninth-form students as they used GeoGebra and communicated in pairs,” she says.

Her overall conclusion is that the way students use their mathematical communication skills in situations involving GeoGebra largely depends on the circumstances.

“A main challenge is the fact that students focus on the digital tool and thus fail to use their communication skills. However, if used correctly, the tool can help students not only use their communication skills, but also to strengthen them,” says Cecilie Carlsen Bach.

Today, she is a postdoctoral scholar with the Danish School of Education, where she continues her research.